Mayor of Zamboanga City

Mayor of the City of Zamboanga
Alkalde de Ciudad de Zamboanga

Seal of the City of Zamboanga
Maria Isabelle Climaco Salazar

since June 30, 2013
Style The Honorable
Seat Zamboanga City Hall
Appointer Elected via popular vote
Term length 3 years
Inaugural holder Christopher Frederick Bader
(as a City Commission)
Nicasio Valderrosa
(as a Chartered City)
Formation January 1, 1912
(as a City Commission)a
February 26, 1937
(as a Chartered City)b
a. Upon the recommendation of the Governor of the Moro Province General John J. Pershing, the municipality of Zamboanga became a commissioned city by virtue of Moro Province Legislative Council Act 272 on January 1, 1912. It would later be reverted to a municipality status by 1914.
b. On October 12, 1936, President Manuel Luis Quezon signed the City Charter of Zamboanga thus officially converting Zamboanga into a city since its reversion in 1914. The first city officials would be sworn in four months later on February 26, 1937.

The Mayor of Zamboanga City (Chavacano: Alkalde de Ciudad de Zamboanga), (Tagalog: Alkalde ng Lungsod ng Zamboanga) is the head of the executive branch of the Zamboanga City's government. The mayor holds office at Zamboanga City Hall. Like all local government heads in the Philippines, the mayor is elected via popular vote, and may not be elected for a fourth consecutive term (although the former mayor may return to office after an interval of one term). In case of death, resignation or incapacity, the vice mayor becomes the mayor.

Functions and duties

The Local Government Code of 1991 outlines the functions and duties of the city mayor as follows:


The leadership of Zamboanga was in the hands of the commander of its Spanish garrison, Fort Pilar during the Spanish era.

When General Vicente Alvarez established Zamboanga as a sovereign republic, the leadership was vested upon its president.

Upon the firm establishment of American colonization and dissolution of the Republic in 1903, Zamboanga, as a municipality, was placed under the Moro Province, a semi-military government consisting of five districts: Zamboanga, Cotabato, Davao, Lanao and Sulu. During this period, Zamboanga hosted a number of American regional governors, including General John J. Pershing, who was military commander/governor of the Moro Province from 1909 to 1914.

On September 15, 1911, the Legislative Council of the Moro Province passed Act No. 272 converting the municipality into a city with a commission form of government but was amended to be effective on January 1, 1912. Frederick Christopher Bader was appointed mayor of the city. After Bader's term ended in 1914, Victoriano Tarrosa, a native Zamboangueño was appointed to replace him.

Upon the establishment of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu in 1914, Zamboanga City was reverted into a municipality run by a municipal president.

City Charter of 1936

When the Commonwealth government was established in 1935, calls to convert Zamboanga into a city increased. On September 23, 1936, through Assemblyman Juan Alano, the National Assembly of the Philippines passed Commonwealth Act No. 39 making Zamboanga a chartered city consists of the present territorial jurisdiction of the municipality of Zamboanga, the municipality of Bolong, the municipal district of Taluksangay, the whole island of Basilan and the adjacent islands, i.e., the municipality of Isabela, the municipal district of Lamitan, and the municipal district of Maluso. It was later signed by President Manuel Quezon on October 12, 1936.

The charter made Zamboanga City as the largest city in the world in terms of land area. The charter also called for a government headed by a city mayor to be appointed by the President of the Philippines; and a city council to be composed of the city engineer, city treasurer, three elective councilors and two appointive councilors.

In a jubilant celebration held outside the City Hall, the new city government was formally inaugurated on February 26, 1937. Nicasio Valderrosa was appointed as mayor while Doroteo Karagdag, Agustin Natividad, Santiago Varela, Faustino Macaso and Pedro Cuevas, Jr. was appointed as councilors.

Commonwealth of the Philippines

Nicasio Siason Valderrosa (1937-1939)[2]

Although born in Bacolod, Negros Occidental on October 11, 1891, Nicasio Valderrosa spent most of his career in Western Mindanao, mainly in Zamboanga and Basilan. In 1930, he was appointed Secretary and Treasurer of the province of Zamboanga and served until his appointment as mayor in 1937.

At this time, the city mayor is directly appointed by the President of the Philippines. During his term, he was known for transferring the Moro village from the thriving tourist spot of Cawa-Cawa Boulevard to its present location in Campo Islam. He also constructed the road network in Basilan.

In 1939, Mayor Valderrosa on the request of President Quezon, was assigned to the newly created chartered city of Baguio, which was experiencing administrative problems as a fledgling city. He became also Basilan's first city mayor when it separated from Zamboanga in 1948.

The street that passes through the Zamboanga City Hall is named in honor of Mayor Valderrosa.

Pablo Rojas Lorenzo (1939-1940)[3]

Pablo Lorenzo, born in 1887, was the son of a Spanish sergeant. Elected to the Philippine House of Representatives and to the 1934 Constitutional Convention representing Zamboanga, Lorenzo was appointed as city mayor in place of Valderrosa who was sent to Baguio in 1939. However, his term was cut short when in 1940, President Manuel Quezon appointed as Immigration Commissioner. He is known to be the father of the first woman mayor of the city, Maria Clara Lobregat.

He also served as Secretary of Education under President Elpidio Quirino and Secretary of Public Works and Communications under President Diosdado Macapagal.

The street that passes from Gateway Mall all through the Zamboanga City Port is named in honor of Mayor Lorenzo.

Agustin Lucero Alvarez (1940-1942)[4]

A native Zamboangueño, Agustin Alvarez was appointed Governor of Zamboanga Province in 1917 until 1922. He would later be appointed city mayor in 1940 until his resignation due to poor health in 1942.

Gregorio Eijasantos Ledesma (1945-1946)[5]

A well-known politician before World War II, Gregorio Ledesma was appointed as governor of the areas that remained free of the Japanese during the war. Immediately after the war, the government of Zamboanga City was left in disarray and disorganized. The Allied liberators were reluctant in appointed local leaders who were associated with the Japanese until Ledesma stood out as a Japanese resistance leader during the war. Because of such prominence, he was appointed Mayor in 1945 and tasked to restore and rebuild the war-ravaged city. Ledesma immediately appoint qualified civilian officers to fill important offices in the local government. He would only serve until 1946.

He returned to politics in 1958 to run for the City Council but lost. However, he would be appointed to the Council when a seat became vacant. He died on September 4, 1966 at the age of 73.

Third Republic of the Philippines

Pantaleon Pelayo (1946-1947)

A well-known lawyer of Davao City yet born and grew up in Zamboanga, Pantaleon Pelayo first entered politics when he was elected to the 1934 Constitutional Convention representing Davao City.

During the proceedings, Pelayo thundered the session floor by denouncing vast lands owned by the Japanese in Davao City. At that time, Davao was nicknamed Davaoaka or the little Tokyo of the Philippines because the Japanese had virtual control of the best agricultural lands and influence in local politics. Many thought it would be his downfall but was redeemed when the Convention inserted a provision limiting the landholdings of the Japanese contained in Article 13, Section 5:

"Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals, corporation, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the Philippines."

Pelayo's exposé caused Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Eulogio Rodriguez to order a full investigation of the Japanese landholdings in Mindanao which resulted in the cancellation of leases of public agricultural lands which were cultivated and developed by the Japanese.

Subsequently, President Manuel Luis Quezon appointed him mayor of Davao in October 1940 which he served until World War II came to the country in 1941. He took an active participation in the guerilla activities against the Japanese in Mindanao.

When Davao was liberated, he was immediately called to reorganize its local government. A few months later, President Sergio Osmeña sent him to Zamboanga and appointed him as City Mayor in 1945 to reorganize also its civil government there. Yet he served for only one year when President Osmeña was defeated for reelection in 1946 by Senate President Manuel Roxas. He then returned to Davao City for his law practice.


The first column consecutively numbers the individuals who have served as chief executive (either mayor or municipal president) of Zamboanga City, while the second column consecutively numbers the individuals who have served as city mayor.

# Mayor
Took office Left office Party Vice-Mayor Term Era
1 1 Christopher Frederick Bader January 2, 1912 February 28, 1914 Appointed None - Insular Government
2 2 Victoriano Tarrosa March 1, 1914 October 15, 1914[6] Appointed None -
Leadership was transferred to the Municipal President upon the reversion of the city to municipality status under the province of Zamboanga.
Please refer to the next table
8 3 Nicasio Valderrosa
February 27, 1937 1939 Appointed None - Commonwealth
9 4 Pablo Lorenzo
1939 1940 Appointed None -
10 5 Agustin Alvarez
1940 1942 Appointed None -
Leadership was transferred to the Municipal President when the Japanese administration reverted Zamboanga's status as a city to a municipality.
Please refer to the next table
Second Republic
(5) 6 Gregorio Ledesma
1945 1946 Appointed None - Commonwealth
12 7 Pantaleon Pelayo
1945 1946 Appointed None - Third Republic
13 8 Vicente Suarez 1946 1947 Appointed None -
14 9 Manuel Jaldon 1947 1949 Appointed None -
15 10 Cesar Climaco
1953 1953 Appointed None 1
16 11 Hector Suarez 1954 January 1, 1956 Appointed None 1
Tabujur Taupan[7]
(15) (10) Cesar Climaco
January 1, 1956 January 1, 1960 Liberal Tomas Ferrer 2
January 1, 1960 1961[8] 3
17 12 Tomas Ferrer
1961 January 1, 1964 Liberal Vacant 1
Joaquin F. Enriquez, Jr.[9]
(16) (11) Hector Suarez January 1, 1964 January 1, 1968 Nacionalista Joaquin F. Enriquez, Jr.[10] 2
Expedito Fernandez
18 13 Joaquin F. Enriquez, Jr.
January 1, 1968 January 1, 1972 Liberal Roberto Lim 1
18 13 January 1, 1972 September 23, 1972 Independent Jose Vicente Atilano II 2
18 13 September 23, 1972 1978 KBL Jose Vicente Atilano II 3 Martial Law Era
"The New Society"
19 14 Jose Vicente Atilano II 1978 1980 KBL Abolished 1
(15) (10) Cesar Climaco
March 5, 1980 June 30, 1981 Concerned Citizen's Aggrupation Manuel Dalipe 4
June 30, 1981 November 14, 1984[11] Fourth Republic
20 15 Manuel Dalipe
(1946- )
November 14, 1984 February 25, 1986 KBL Susan delos Reyes 1
February 25, 1986 May 25, 1986 Fifth Republic
21 - Rustico Varela
March 25, 1986[12] June 1, 1986 Appointed -
22 - Julio Cesar Climaco
(1944- )
June 1, 1986[13] May 28, 1987[14] Appointed -
23 - Vitaliano Agan
May 28, 1987[15] February 2, 1988 Appointed -
24 16 February 2, 1988 June 30, 1992 Lakas Jose Climaco 1
June 30, 1992 June 30, 1995 Roberto Ko 2
June 30, 1995 March 23, 1998[16] Efren Arañez 3
25 17 Efren Arañez
(1938- )
March 23, 1998 June 30, 1998 Lakas Vacant -
26 18 Maria Clara Lobregat
June 30, 1998 June 30, 2001 LDP Roberto Ko 1
June 30, 2001 January 2, 2004[17] Erico Basilio Fabian 2
27 19 Erico Basilio Fabian
(1957- )
January 4, 2004 June 30, 2004 LDP Vacant -
28 20 Celso L. Lobregat
(1948- )
June 30, 2004 June 30, 2007 LDP Maria Isabelle Climaco 1
June 30, 2007 June 30, 2010 Manuel Jose Dalipe 2
June 30, 2010 June 30, 2013 Cesar Iturralde 3
29 21 Maria Isabelle Climaco Salazar
(1966- )
June 30, 2013 June 30, 2016 Liberal 1
June 30, 2016 Incumbent 2


Vice mayor of Zamboanga City

The Vice Mayor is the second-highest official of the city. The vice mayor is elected via popular vote; although most mayoral candidates have running mates, the vice mayor is elected separately from the mayor. This can result in the mayor and the vice mayor coming from different political parties.

The Vice Mayor is the presiding officer of the Zamboanga City Council, although he can only vote as the tiebreaker. When a mayor is removed from office, the vice mayor becomes the mayor until the scheduled next election.

Former Councilor Cesar Iturralde is the incumbent Vice-Mayor serving since 2007.

See also


  1. Lledo, Josefina (July 12, 2001). Mayors of Zamboanga City - A Profile: 1912-1998. Zamboanga City: Office of the City Government of Zamboanga.
  2. "Hon. Nicasio S. Valderrosa". City Government of Zamboanga. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  3. "Pablo Rojas Lorenzo". City Government of Zamboanga. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  4. "Agustin Lucero Alvarez". City Government of Zamboanga. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  5. "Gregorio E. Ledesma". City Government of Zamboanga. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  6. Term ended with the dissolution of the Commission Form of Government.
  7. Taupan was appointed by President Ramon Magsaysay to be acting Vice-Mayor until a new one is to be elected in the 1955 local elections when the City Charter was amended to create the office of vice-mayor.
  8. Climaco resigned to run for the Senate.
  9. Councilor Enriquez succeeded Ferrer as vice-mayor.
  10. Councilor Enriquez resigned to run for Mayor in the 1967 local elections.
  11. Climaco was assassinated by an unknown gunman. Vice-Mayor Dalipe succeeded him.
  12. Appointed by President Corazon Aquino as acting officer-in-charge.
  13. Appointed by President Corazon Aquino as acting officer-in-charge.
  14. Climaco resigned to run for Congress.
  15. Appointed by President Corazon Aquino as acting officer-in-charge when Climaco resigned.
  16. Agan resigned to run for Congress in the 1998 local elections.
  17. Died due to diabetic complications. Succeeded by Vice-Mayor Erbie Fabian.
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